Paul Ashbee

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Paul Ashbee
Paul Ashbee.jpg
Born (1918-06-23)23 June 1918
Bearsted, near Maidstone, Kent
Died 19 August 2009(2009-08-19) (aged 91)
Citizenship British
Fields Archaeology
Alma mater University of London
Known for Leading authority on Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows

Paul Ashbee (23 June 1918 – 19 August 2009) was a leading British archaeologist, celebrated for his many excavations of barrows, or burial mounds, and for co-directing the Sutton Hoo digs (with Rupert Bruce-Mitford) from 1964 to 1972; he was perhaps less well known as president of the Just William Society, established in 1995 to celebrate the literary oeuvre of Richmal Crompton. He died of cancer on 19 August 2009, aged 91.[1]

Personal life[edit]

An only child Paul Ashbee was born in Bearsted, near Maidstone, Kent. He made national headlines when he uncovered the remains of a Roman villa on a farm at Thurnham when still a teenager.[1] He joined the Royal West Kent Regiment for the duration of the war, followed by the Control Commission for Germany. Although without any qualifications he studied for a diploma in European prehistoric archaeology at the University of London in 1952, followed by a diploma in education at Bristol University and a MA at Leicester University. He became an assistant history master at Britain's first comprehensive school, Forest Hill School, Forest Hill, London where he stayed until 1966.[1] He married Richmal Disher in 1952; she was a history student and they met at a dig at Verulamium, St Albans in 1949. She was the niece, and later literary agent, of Richmal Crompton, author of the Just William stories. Both Paul and Richmal served successive terms as president of the Just William Society. Richmal died in 2005, and Paul is survived by his son and daughter.[1]


Ashbee went into archaeology (during school holidays) after service in the army through the Second World War. He excavated widely across southern Britain and is best known as a leading authority on Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows.[2] From 1976 to 1980 he was the President of the Cornwall Archaeology Society,[3] and was also a commissioner of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England for 10 years.[1]


Published work[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Paul Ashbee". The Telegraph (9 October 2009). Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Quinnell, Henrietta (February 2010). "Paul Ashbee 1918-2009" (PDF). Cornish Archaeological Society Newsletter (122): 2. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Cornish Archaeological Society (October 2009). "Paul Ashbee 1918-2009". Cornish Archaeological Society. 48-49: 325. 
Ward, Anthony; Lawson, Terence (2010). "Paul Ashbee, M.A., D.Litt., F.S.A." (PDF). Archaeolgia Cantiana. 130: 435–438. 

External links[edit]